The 300-foot breach in the Pajaro River levee, just south of Watsonville, has forced over 2,000 residents from their homes. As of Sunday, more than 5,000 Monterey County residents remained under an evacuation order or warning. And it ain’t over. More rain is expected this week.
Officials have said it’ll be months before many homes in the area will be habitable again. Meanwhile, an entire community is under putrid water tainted by various chemicals. Even if residents can reach their homes, wading through the rancid standing water is unsafe. Oh, and the stretch of Hwy 1 that was closed off on Sunday, March 12, due to the breach makes it more difficult for Pajaro residents to navigate to safety. The flooding has also impacted the Pajaro Water System, which is likely contaminated. Pajaro residents have been advised to avoid tap water—even if boiled for cooking—until further notice.
If the area wasn’t made up of primarily low-income migrant farmworkers, would action have been taken to repair the levee? According to records and interviews spanning decades, the answer is “yes.”
In addition to constructing an adequate, permanent levee, which should have been done years ago, there’s a very costly mess that needs to be cleaned up and the possibility of a class action lawsuit. The multi-million dollar question: Who should be held accountable?
Adam Joseph | Interim Editor
218 Main St. It is a hidden gem full of local artists for 47 years. They have 20 artists: painting artists, jewelry artists, potters, fiber artists, photographers and a mosaic artist. Sunday-Thursday: 11am-3pm; Friday: 11am-6pm; First Friday 5-8pm; Saturday: 10am-6pm. —Salinas Valley Art Gallery
Old town is our favorite place to be. I always say, “you could really be here all day and walk around trying new things, new cocktails!” I love every one of these new spots! —Calyssa, The Cheese Fairy Charcuterie
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Santa Cruz Community Health (SCCH) and Dientes Community Dental are celebrating their hundredth day of care at their new facility on Capitola Road. Since opening the new building, Dientes and SCCH have served 6,000 patients. The duo provides health services to low-income patients, with the care center staffed with dentists, pediatrics, family doctors and more. dientes.org
Shopper’s Corner, Santa Cruz’s oldest grocery store, is hitting a milestone: 85 years in the biz. The store, which features a hearty wine selection, a butcher and fresh produce on par with farmers markets, is a longtime local fave and winner of several Best of Santa Cruz County awards. Andre Beauregard is now at the helm, taking over for his recently retired father. Help keep Shopper’s Corner going for another 85 years! shopperscorner.com